Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Anderson

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 15, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Janett Lynn Anderson, Defendant.


          Honorable Bruce G. Macdonald, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Currently pending before the Court is Defendant Janett Lynn Anderson's Motion to Suppress Stop on Fourth Amendment Grounds (Doc. 41). The Government has filed its response. Govt's Response to Def's Mot. to Suppress Stop on Fourth Amendment Grounds (Doc. 49). No reply was filed. Defendant is charged with two (2) counts of transportation of illegal aliens for profit and one (1) count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for profit, all in violation of Title 8, United States Code, Section 1324. Indictment (Doc. 15) at 1-2. Defendant Janett Lynn Anderson seeks suppression of all evidence obtained as a result of an allegedly faulty traffic stop. See Def's Mot. to Suppress Stop on Fourth Amendment Grounds (Doc. 41).

         Pursuant to LRCrim. 5.1, this matter came before Magistrate Judge Macdonald for an evidentiary hearing and a report and recommendation. On August 7, 2017, an evidentiary hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Macdonald regarding the motion. Minute Entry 8/7/2017 (Doc. 52). On August 18, 2017, the final transcripts were received and this matter became ripe for adjudication. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the District Court, after its independent review, deny Defendant's motion.


         On December 10, 2016, Arizona Department of Public Safety ("DPS") Officer Rene Algara was working a late shift. Hr'g Tr. 8/7/2017 (Doc. 67) at 6:25-7:13. Officer Algara has been employed with DPS for nearly two (2) years. Id. at 5:20-6:8. His current assignment is as a state trooper assigned to the Bisbee and Douglas area-from the New Mexico state line to the east to the checkpoint past Tombstone along Highway 80 and from the checkpoint past Elfrida almost to Palominas on State Route 92. Id. at 6:9-21. Prior to joining DPS, Officer Algara was a City of Bisbee police officer. Id. at 5:24-6:8.

         At approximately 7:27 p.m. on December 10, 2017, Officer Algara was patrolling State Route 80 in the Bisbee area. Hr'g Tr. 8/7/2017 (Doc. 67) at 8:22-25, 17:19-21. Officer Algara was parked, facing westbound, monitoring traffic between mileposts 343 and 342. Id. at 9:4-21. Officer Algara acknowledged that it was dark at that time of evening. Id. at 9:1-3, 17:22-24. Officer Algara testified that he observed a white Honda Civic at Milepost 343 and pointed his LIDAR laser gun at the vehicle to obtain its speed. Id. at 12:22-13:6, 15:2-4. Officer Algara further testified that the vehicle was traveling 41 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. Id. at 12:22-13:6, 15:5-9, 15:24-16:3, 19:22-20:6. Officer Algara also testified that his report mistakenly states that it was a 35 mile per hour posted speed limit instead of the actual 30 mile per hour limit. Id. at 15:10-23.

         Officer Algara testified that as a DPS officer he has been trained to visually estimate how fast a vehicle is traveling, as well as being certified in the use of LIDAR and radar. Hr'g Tr. 8/7/2017 (Doc. 67) 13:7-13, 14:2-17. Officer Algara described the use of the LIDAR, and explained that you can target a specific vehicle to obtain the speed of that vehicle, even if there are multiple cars present. Id. at 13:14-14:1, 20:12-17.

         Officer Algara testified that he pulled out behind the white Honda Civic, followed for approximately one mile, turned on his lights and executed the stop. Hr'g Tr. 8/7/2017 (Doc. 67) at 8:2-21, 16:4-8, 20:18-25. Officer Algara further testified that Defendant's driving in excess of the posted speed limit was his sole reason for stopping her. Id. at 22:3-5. Officer Algara made contact with the female driver of the vehicle, who was identified as Janett Lynn Anderson. Id. 16:9-20.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Defendant seeks suppression in this case, because "[t]here will be no evidence whatsoever that Ms. Anderson driving at 41 mph at 7:27 p.m. was 'unreasonable' and imprudent 'under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing.'" Def.'s Mot. to Suppress (Doc. 41) at 4. Defendant further argues that "[t]he fact that many law enforcement officers in Arizona have the mistaken belief that driving one or two mph above or below the posted limits gives them the right to pull over any motorist does not excuse the fourth amendment violation here." Id.

         A. Fourth Amendment-In general

         "The Fourth Amendment prohibits 'unreasonable searches and seizures' by the Government, and its protections extend to brief investigatory stops of persons or vehicles that fall short of traditional arrest." United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273, 122 S.Ct. 744, 750, 151 L.Ed.2d 740 (2002) (citing Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 9, 88 S.Ct. 1868, 20 L.Ed.2d 889 (1968); United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417, 101 S.Ct. 690, 66 L.Ed.2d 621 (1981)). For the police to conduct a valid stop, they must "have a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity may be afoot." United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 7, 109 S.Ct. 1581, 1585, 104 L.Ed.2d 1 (1989) (internal quotes and citation omitted). "[T]he level of suspicion required for a Terry stop[, however, ] is obviously less demanding than that for probable cause." Id. at 8, 109 S.Ct. at 1585 (internal citations omitted).

         B. Reasonable suspicion

         "Reasonable suspicion is defined as 'a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped of criminal activity.'" Id. (quoting United States v. Cotterman,709 F.3d 952, 968 (9th Cir. 2013) (en banc)). "The reasonable-suspicion standard is not a particularly high threshold to reach." Valdes-Vega, 738 F.3d at 1078. Furthermore, although "a mere hunch is insufficient to justify a stop, the likelihood of criminal activity need not rise to the level required for probable cause, and it falls considerably short of satisfying a preponderance ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.